There are indications that the volume of rice to be produced in Katsina State this year will surpass that of last year considering the way farmers in the state are massively planting the crop this season. Our correspondent observed that though there was huge production of rice in the state last year, it could still not meet processors’ demands as they had to source for paddy rice from other states. Umar Abdullahi, a seasoned rice farmer in Funtua Local Government Area said: “Unlike maize and sorghum, rice requires less fertilizer and because of the high cost of the input, we decide to plant it more this year.’’ A bag of NPK 15:15:15 in the state now costs around N15,000 and that of NPK 20:10:10 is N6,500. Urea (Indorama) is N7,300.
The farmer noted that planting maize this year would be costlier than rice, saying yields from rice are higher than that of maize and it generates more revenue within a short period. Umar further said the recent proliferation of rice processing factories in the state has gingered farmers to partake in the production of the raw material.
An agricultural expert, Mani Sabitu Funtua, noted that not all farmers know the right seed for their farms. “Rice has so many varieties and you choose based on the nature of your farm. There are those suitable for highland farms, there are those for lowland farms while swampy areas have their peculiar rice seed,” he said. Sabitu said local farmers were ignorantly mixing the seed variety in the cause of clamouring for high yield while lack of agricultural extension workers to advise and guide farmers has long been a source of concern. “Our farmers are not getting optimum output from their farms due to lack of agricultural extension workers. Everything now is through trial and error,’’ said Mani Sabitu.
SOURCE: DAILY TRUST